Thursday, January 31, 2013

Magnolia Bakery, Los Angeles

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Los Angeles, CA. There's always a time and a place for dessert, but finding a bakery or pastry shop with a stable supply beyond the 6 o'clock hour has become the unending challenge. Good shops close early - I get it. What do I do at 8:53pm on a weeknight when I REALLY need to have a slice of cake, pastry or pie? Well, luckily along the shopping district known as 3rd Street sits the west coast location of Magnolia Bakery, of NYC. It offers seating inside and out, sweets for the hungry, coffee for the weary, and closing hours at the 9 or 10 o'clock mark - now this is making more sense.
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Animal: Poutine is Love

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Los Angeles, CA. Cheese and potatoes have gone together since time immemorial, like milk and cookies, eggs and bacon, Hall and Oates. Hearty gratins and baked potatoes oozing melted cheddar eventually begat Velveeta-covered french fries, a blistering, radioactive orange showcase of what American food processing ingenuity could achieve. But in typical American fashion, french fry innovators lost interest soon after adding chili to the mix, moving on to tater tots, deep-fried Oreos, and hot dogs inexplicably injected with cheese before being served to unsuspecting school kids.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Kale Soup

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Ever find yourself chewing on a couple leaves of kale while simultaneously tapping through the tv channels looking to fill the idle time with anything...just anything? Neither have I (not often anyway). What I HAVE found, is that this nutrient rich green lasts for about five to seven days in my crisper, despite me gnawing away at it over the week. That being said, I usually end up with more kale than I know what to do with...I've exhausted the rinse and eat, light oil sautee, cream it down, or crisp it up variations in prep diversity. Now it's time to introduce another modification to cozy up to for the times when L.A. becomes a wee too cold for my sun-hungry ways: Kale Soup.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Country Fried Steak

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The sizzling sound of tenderized cube steaks immersed in a deep fryer. SSssss! The water slowly vaporizing through the vent as classic Southern cuisine takes over. Careful, this dish comes with a warning: to be eaten until full. Country Fried Steak (aka Chicken Fried Steak, Pan-Fried Steakwas a shoe-in when I considered a few choices for my deep fried splurges. In my household, I'm more accustomed to the dish being pan-fried, served simmering in brown gravy, but when one has a deep fryer, he uses it! As demonstrated in my Chicken Fried Turkey 'Steak' recipe, the prep process can vary, but it remains just as easy to put together for that reliable and relatable Southern flavor.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ratatouille and Poached Egg

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I found myself in a très Provençal mood the other night.  I turned my dining room into an Avignon farmhouse: threw some lavender in mason jars, created an Edith Piaf station on Pandora, and immediately set to chopping vegetables for a ratatouille - a French dish of roasted and stewed vegetables.  It can be made with whatever vegetables you have on hand (although what I list below are the standard ingredients) and is completely customizable.  Eat it hot, warm, or cold. Serve it on bread, on rice, tossed with pasta, or on its own as a side dish.  Here, I pair it with a couple poached eggs for a hearty (yet healthy) full meal.  Pour some bordeaux, light the fire, and get transported. Bon appetit.
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Homestyle Apple Crisp

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Throughout my life, I've had a devoted interest in crust and crumble, usually my favorite part of a dessert. This Homestyle Apple Crisp is a hearty version that renders that thought a reality. The filling is a combination of sweetened, sliced red apples and a homemade apple sauce. The crumble topping is a flour-sugar-butter blend that brings the 'crisp' true to its name. It takes a little more time to make than using canned ingredients, but I believe that fresh is best for these types of homestyle desserts. Enjoy!!
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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Messhall Kitchen

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Los Angeles, CA. Here's a game for you: close your eyes, and think of a food trend from the last 6 months. Open your eyes. Look at the menu at Messhall Kitchen, a new "gastro-tavern" in Los Feliz. Bet you found it! Pork Belly? Check. Brussel Sprouts? Check. Something pickled? Double check. Amazing cocktail menu? Triple check.
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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Spam Musubi

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or How You'll Learn to Love the Pig in a Can

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, like a Spam musubi. This satisfying brick of steamy, sticky rice topped with a pan-fried slab of Spam and wrapped in a sheath of nori represents all that is good about carbs, salted pre-cooked pig parts, and the sea, and no other treat takes the edge off bleary-eyed weekend mornings like it. In Hawaii, these ubiquitous snacks are packed in every lunchbox and every go-bag, sold in every convenience and grocery store, and always available to fuel dawn patrol surf sessions, tired soccer moms, cranky toddlers, and hungry Waikiki tourists surprised by Spam sushi at 7-11.
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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Con Sabor Restaurant y Pupuseria

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Los Angeles, CA. There are times when I'm desiring home-cooked Latin American flavor offered up with warmth and modesty. Brainstorming among friends, I've wondered if such a place existed anymore; among the LA food 'scene' and latest restaurant 'trend' I worry for those that get lost in the shuffle. There are places I frequent and forget to mention because I've viewed them as an extension of my kitchen and my upbringing. Yet every time I introduce someone to the Salvadorian rooted Con Sabor Restaurant y Pupuseria, I'm able to share in this hidden treasure that warms their tummy and brings a smile to their face. This isn't my home, this isn't my family, and I know no one here, I've merely stumbled upon a restaurant that invokes a sensation where an introduction is long overdue.
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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

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The dull scent of oil is rarely pleasant, but sometimes golden fried goodness justifies a temporary step away from an otherwise pristine kitchen. Over the holidays I was gifted a deep fryer - I suppose having been one of the remaining family members without, it was long overdue. Now with an urge to create new recipes in the new year, my mind has already started wandering: Donuts? Taquitos? Chicken? Of course! Naturally, Buttermilk Fried Chicken was an ideal entrance into my frying world and my official step away from the deep pot / stove top / thermometer method.
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